The Defense Logistics Agency (DLA) recently stood up a new data management division within the Office of the Chief Data and Analytics Officer (CDAO) that aims to offer “invaluable insights” going forward, CDAO Lindsey Saul said.

The DLA considers its logistics data to be a strategic asset, which means it enables leaders to make decisions that improve readiness and ensure America’s success in contingency operations, Saul explained. The new data management division is the latest way DLA is working towards that mission.

“We have exposed areas of opportunity within DLA’s overall digital business transformation to refine, enhance, and modernize our data architecture,” she said on Jan. 19 during a webinar event hosted by NextGov. “We just recently stood up a data management division, which seems like a small thing, but really has a significant impact in our future data architecture and says where we need to go.”

Previously, Saul explained, there wasn’t always a need for a data management division. However, she said the lack of standardization across various data systems and databases created a “real hassle” for today’s analysts and data scientists.

“Making that much easier for them and really tapping into the strategic asset that is needed in order to gain invaluable insights – insights that we haven’t even mined yet or discovered – is the key to our future,” the CDAO said.

“Having built this data management division, their job is to work with the business to really go through and define that critical business data,” she added. “Of all the data that we have – hundreds of data elements – what are the key critical elements, and then working across the business and process areas to make sure that the data architecture is developed in a way to enable people to mine it and access it more easily.”

The new division supports what Saul called the VAULTIS principle: visible, accessible, understood, linked, trustworthy, interoperable, and secure. This principle has permeated throughout the agency and is the “crown jewel” of what the data management team is working for, she said.

“We really need to treat data as a weapon system,” she concluded. “Manage, secure, and use data for operational effect.”

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Grace Dille
Grace Dille
Grace Dille is MeriTalk's Assistant Managing Editor covering the intersection of government and technology.